MATHER, EDMUND, president of the board of commissioners of water and light department, was born in Lancaster, England, September 8 1827. He is a son of James and Sarah (Aked) Mather. He was reared in his native land and received his education in the private schools. He learned the trade of paper-making with his father. In 1849 he emigrated to America and first settled near Fitchburg, Mass. where he was employed in the paper mills for three years. In 1852 he went to ‘raleigh, N.C., and took charge of a paper mill, remaining for three years, having control of the mill on ‘Crab Tree creek. In 1854 he purchased the machinery and built a large mill at the Falls of the Neuse, and operated the same for the Manteo Manufacturing Company. In 1855. sickness compelling him to leave, he emigrated to Mount Holly, Pa., and took charge of one of the two mills then at that place. Affter two years, on account of poor health, he removed to Sterretts Gap, Pa., where he leased a hotel and engaged in business. Three years later, in 1860, his health having been restored, he came to Harrisburg and was engaged by Jacob Zug to build a mill near Mount Holly, Pa. He completed and started the same, receiving a salary for his services; he also owned an interest in the enterprise. In 1861, he closed the mill on account of the disturbed condition of the country.
When Fort Sumter was fired upon Mr. Mather enlisted in the Lochiel Grays and served three months. He re-enlisted in company B, Eighty-forth Pennsylvania volunteers; was made first sergeant, and was promoted to adjutant of the regiment. He was in important battles, among which are Winchester, Chancellorsville and other engagements. In Decemberr, 1863, he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve corps, on account of disability. He resigned in November 1865. Mr. Mather was military inspector of the hospital at Alexandria, Va., and afterwards came to Harrisburg, and was soon thereafter employed to take charge of a paper mill at West Newton, Palk which position he held but a short time on account of ill health.
In January, 1867, Mr. Mather went to ‘washington D.C. and became the business manager of the Evening Leader, a Republican paper. This position he held for one year and then went to Titusville, Pa., where he built a paper mill. His health continuing to be poor, he was not active in business for the next twelve years. In 1883 he embarked in the construction of furnaces, and has since gradually worked into mechanical engineering.
Mr. Mather was elected to the city council in 1883 for three years. In 1887, he was made president of the water board; was re-elected in 1890, and again chosen in 1893. He never solicited a single vote, His preferment to office came unsolicited. He was one of the first who helped to organize the first Board of Trade, was secretary for two years and is a member of the present board. Mr. Mather is a Republican in politics, and was very active in party matters in 1868, during which he was secretary of the Republican Committee of Harrisburg. He is a member of Perseverance Lodge, No. 21, F. & A. M.; of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a charter member of the Royal Arcanum.
Edmund Mather was married in 1851 to Miss Jane Ann Parker, daughter of John Parker, of England. They have one living child, Sarah, who married J. W. Deeter, now of Mechanicsburg. Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Mather have attended the Pine Street Presbyterian church since 1861. He is a life member of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and has for several years been connected with the American Water Works Association.